Fort Lauderdale —
A curious 2-year-old kangaroo named Jack decided to roam the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood around his home north of downtown on Thursday, but city police had to jump in and catch him for safety’s sake.
Jack went peacefully into the back of a Fort Lauderdale patrol car that took him to the barn where the police department’s horses are kept.
“He’s so nice,” said owner Anthony Macias. “He doesn’t mean anyone any harm.”
Macias, 24, said he was awaiting a call to bring Jack home. Instead, he was told by police that Jack won’t be returned to him because Fort Lauderdale is not zoned for kangaroos.
He said that, prior to Jack’s escape, he had planned to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to find out what permits and licensing he needed for an exotic animal.
Macias was at work when he learned Jack was out and about, and he contacted police.
“I was taking out the recycle bin and I didn’t shut the gate all the way,” Macias said. “I guess he just punched his way through.”
The marsupial was first spotted about one block from his home, hopping along the 1600 block of North Andrews Avenue about 9:30 a.m.
More than a half dozen witnesses called 911 to report the sighting.
“There’s a kangaroo hopping around on Andrews [Avenue] between 13th and 16th [streets],” one caller said. “Seriously. I know you probably think I’m crazy but everyone was stopping and looking and almost hitting it and I don’t want it to get hit.”
Officers followed it three blocks down Andrews before making their move.
Fort Lauderdale police officer Robert Norvis answered the Signal 69 call, which usually means a dog or cat got loose.
“At first we didn’t believe it,” he said. “But when we got there it, sure enough, was a kangaroo.”
Three officers surrounded Jack and slowly walked toward him. An officer picked up Jack from behind and placed him in the back of the patrol car. According to Norvis, Jack didn’t thrash or resist.
[ RELATED TOPIC: Bucky's back after a week on the lam ]
“He’s very friendly,” Norvis said.
Macias said he got Jack about four months ago from a Davie man who was moving and didn’t want Jack anymore.
Jack shared a home with Macias’ Corgi named Max.
“They love each other,” he said. “They play and run around.”
Macias orders kangaroo food online and supplements that with grass, apples, potatoes, corn and other vegetables. Jack also has a little canopy and shed in the backyard where he can take shelter from the heat.
“It’s a jungle out there,” quipped Mayor Dean Trantalis. “How bizarre for someone to keep a wild animal in their house. Maybe it will end up at one of our zoos. I’m hoping they find a safe place for it.”
Macias confirmed he has friends in Palm Beach County who are permitted to care for Jack so he’ll be only a hop, skip, and a jump from home.
Sun Sentinel reporter Susannah Bryan contributed to this story.
Wayne K. Roustan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4303 or on Twitter @WayneRoustan